Minister clarifies fishing rights

Villagers of Susui and Sawana while holding discussions with the Minister of Fisheries and other government officials in Susui , Vanua Balavu Lau. Picture: VILIMAINA NAQELEVUKI

VILLAGERS of Sawana, Vanuabalavu in Lau have raised their concerns with the Fisheries Ministry on the issue of fishing restrictions.

Addressing the villagers, Fisheries Minister Semi Koroilavesau said the laws pertaining to fishing rights had not changed.

“The law of the sea across the world states that the fishing grounds belong to the Government, but the rights of the fishing grounds belong to those who are on the island from the extension of the land towards the reef and back,” Mr Koroilavesau said.

He said the laws had not changed from when Fiji was ceded to Great Britain and when the country gained its independence.

“The laws have not changed until today from the time we were ceded to Great Britain and gained independence. The fishing grounds are owned by the Government, but the rights of the fishing grounds belong to those who own it,” he said.

The representative from the iTaukei Land Trust Board said the fishing rights were with the clans who used the fishing grounds as a source of food.

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